'Space technology can benefit agriculture, government decision-making in Africa'

Experts discuss how satellite imagery can contribute to sustainable development in Africa at international conference

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 29 October 2014

Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

A conference to explore the societal benefits of space technologies is underway at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. The 10th International Conference of the African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment is hosting discussions and workshops on the applications of space technology for sustainable development in African nations.

Speaking at the conference on Monday, South African Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said an African space policy and strategy is being developed by the African Union commission through the African Ministers Council on Science and Technology.

“National space strategy and earth observation serve a number of government departments and help them fulfill their respective mandates through the provision of timely and relevant data,” she said, according to South African daily, Business Day.

Satellite imagery has the potential to benefit agriculture in African nations. "Precision agriculture is about producing food efficiently, and for that you need information. Inputs from space can predict the right time to plant your crop and when to harvest it. Billions can be saved by buying ahead and making informed decisions," said Michael Inggs, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Cape Town, according to Business Day.

The use of space technology is growing in Africa with countries like South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria and Egypt having established their own space agencies.

The biennial conference brings together scientists, practitioners, vendors of geospatial solutions and government officials from various countries around the world. Participants discuss the applications of space science and geospatial technology including photogrammetry, remote sensing and geospatial information sciences.

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